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Crystal Reports: Box and Line Formatting Recommendations

See also: Crystal Reports: Box and Shadow


Boxes and lines can make a major improvement to the presentation of your reports. You can use them to separate areas of the report or to highlight different parts of the page.

Lining up boxes and lines can be difficult. One feature to make this easier is to select the option ”Extend to Bottom of Section when Printing”. This will resize the box or line and they will attach more accurately.

Drop shadow boxes or field borders can be a method to emphasize an object. We also like the rounded corners you can set.

Sadly, you can have either a drop shadow or rounded corners, but not both. If you set rounding on the corner you will find that the Drop Shadow option is disabled.

Take care with boxes and lines that you don't overdo it. You can find some good Web design books that explain this concept very well, and just transition that knowledge over to your Crystal Reports. Some basic tips:

  • Don't put boxes around everything. That defeats the purpose of using a box.
  • Avoid horizontal lines that go across the page. Those tell readers "stop reading here," and many eye path studies have shown that's exactly what readers do.
  • Use boxes to set things off from the rest of the report. For example, highlight critical material or show a sidebar.
  • Go easy on the shadows and other effects. You want those to help guide the eye, not distract the reader.

See this article, which includes a list of some good things to put in a box.

Now, the box and line tool is just one formatting tool in Crystal Reports. See this article, which includes a list of many other formatting tools.


This article is copyrighted by Crystalkeen, Mindconnection, and Chelsea Technologies Ltd. It may be freely copied and distributed as long as the original copyright is displayed and no modifications are made to this material. Extracts are permitted. The names Crystal Reports and Seagate Info are trademarks owned by Business Objects.


  • Questions? Please write to We do want your business.
  • Do you have your own tips for Crystal Reports administrators and designers? Write to and we'll post your tips with a link to your Website (or with some other attribution if you choose).
  • Crystal Reports is a subsidiary of Business Objects, which is owned by SAP.